Every once in awhile, there’s a one shot comic that really surprises you, and really grabs you, and you find yourself thinking about it long after you’ve finished reading the last page. That’s what Split is all about. It’s about making you think and feel and then think again. Normally I’d give a synopsis of the story, but I really don’t want to ruin it. It’s a story worth reading from beginning to end. What I can tell you is this. It’s a story about a family coping with a lost loved one, and how each person deals with tragedy in their own way.
This seems to be a 50 page book, but in reality, instead of small panels, the artist, John Rodriguez uses a lot of full page panels to show the elements of the story. And it’s important, because each character has very little dialogue, and the story is told through the character’s expressions. Each emotion is finely crafted on the faces of these characters, further reiterating that a picture is worth a thousand words. You can feel what the character is feeling, yet still not know the what and why of it all. And it’s with that story direction by writer, Mira Mortal, that seems to place the right emotion at just the right spot. The story was not perfect, and I am still confused about a few things after the big reveal, but it was satisfying and keeps you thinking about it after you’ve put the book down.
In all honesty, I like a book that talks to me, not only in picture, but in words, and for me, the lack of dialogue was off putting and gave me a sense that something was missing. I realize that’s the point in the end, which makes the story clever. Though it sounds like a dig, it’s actually a positive thing. The writer and artist are holding your hand through this journey, and guiding you through it’s seemingly straight, paved roads. I found myself being lulled to a point of confusion, as the dialogue reveals little of the main plot of this story. As a matter of fact, I started not to care about the plot as I felt something nagging at the corner of my mind saying, “There’s something going on here, I just can’t put my finger on it.”
It’s not easy reviewing a comic and not revealing anything, because I know what it’s like to have a comic or movie ruined for you. It’s a horrible feeling, and you want to strangle the person who did the spoiling. I’d rather keep my neck in check and say, this is a comic in the making and worth your time and money, as this is also a kickstarter project. I have no investment in this project…yet, but I know that I’d like to see more like this comic novella (a term coined on the kickstarter page). I give this one, 8 out of 10 measurements of enjoyment.
Francis Fernandez (The Other Guy)